Co-operative Group asks eight million members to shape campaigning future

22 June 2015

The Co-operative Group today (Monday 22 June) returned to its pioneering roots by asking its eight million members and 70,000 colleagues to choose the issue and charity partner as the focal point of an innovative multi-million pound fundraising campaign.

Members and employees are choosing from a shortlist of issues and charities for the partnership, in keeping with the Co-operative Group’s aim to ‘Campaign for a better society’.

In a radical departure from previous approaches, the Group will campaign on a national issue raised in feedback from over 30,000 of its members and employees who have been contributing ideas through the Co-operative’s Let’s Talk* website.

The chosen partner will benefit not only from fundraising, but also the Group's ability to galvanise members and employees behind a campaign.

The issues and charity partners are:

  • Tackling loneliness: in partnership with British Red Cross 
    Loneliness affects one in seven Co-op members and customers. It’s indiscriminate affecting young and old, rich and poor. Being lonely is reported to be as damaging as well-known risk factors such as obesity. With loneliness can come a sense of despair and emotional and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

  • Saving outdoor spaces: in partnership with Groundwork
    Open spaces are vital to the wellbeing of people and communities, where they can meet and connect, get some fresh and enjoy the outdoors. Yet the likelihood of people visiting green spaces has fallen significantly in a generation.

  • Transforming young lives: in partnership with Prince’s Trust 
    Young people are our future: they’re the catalysts for change, the innovators and carers of tomorrow. But for many, acute poverty, tough home lives and low self-esteem stand in the way of them ever reaching their potential and one in five young people report symptoms of anxiety or depression.

The vote closes at midnight on Sunday 12 July and the chosen Charity Partner will be announced late in July. Fundraising will then launch with the Charity Partner in September.

Richard Pennycook, Group Chief Executive said:

“This is what the co-operative difference is all about. As a member-led organisation, this announcement heralds a return to our founding principles – standing up for what matters to our members and colleagues so that we can campaign for change and a better society.”

Members and employees can vote for their preferred charity partner and issues online.

Notes to Editors:

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned by more than eight million members. It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer operating across the country with almost 2,800 local, convenience and medium-sized stores.

Amongst its other wholly-owned businesses are the UK’s number one funeral services provider, a major general insurer and a developing legal services business.

The Group also has a minority shareholding in The Co-operative Bank and a joint-venture travel business with Thomas Cook.

As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group, which operates 3,500 outlets and employs approaching 70,000 people, is recognised for its social goals and community-led programmes.

*Let's Talk is a web based forum that is open to the Group’s members, giving them an opportunity to voice their opinions and debate topics relating to the Group and its businesses.  This forum has helped the Group to develop great products, services and policies to meet its members’ needs.